Head of Sale
£8,000 - £12,000
Head of Sale
A private collection.
Displaying the dynamism and variation of his creative abilities, Afewerk Tekle demonstrates in works, such as the present lot, why he was considered to be one of the leading artists to have emerged from Ethiopia. Following his studies in the United Kingdom, enrolling at the Central School of Arts and Crafts before completing his further education at the Slade School of Art, Tekle returned to Ethiopia and was granted a studio space by the in the National Library of Ethiopia by the Emperor Haile Sellassie I. The Emperor had been extremely supportive of Tekle's career since opening his solo exhibition in 1954 and was interested in how Tekle could support the Arts in Ethiopia following his education and ravels throughout Europe.
Created in the year that, arguably, the artist received his greatest acclaim and success, Ibeji and other objects could be seen as a presentation of cultural pride for the artist's successful career at the age of only 32, both nationally and internationally. In the same year of this works completion, he also became the first person to win the Haile Selassie I Prize for Fine Arts. This followed the artist's landmark retrospective exhibition of 1961 in Addis Ababa just three years prior.
Boundless in creativity, the present lot encapsulates thematic motifs synonymous with his most notable works. These are themes such as the heavy influence of religion, such as his stain glass window executed for the UN, and the emphasis of his cultural heritage, as was championed by the artist who always intended on promoting art within his country. Indeed, the present work is layered in both respects given the orientation of dark brushstrokes across the work, resembling glass panes that one may see in a stain glass window and seemingly fragmenting the work to provide a similar appearance. Equally, the artist's depiction of figural Ethiopian Iconography as the subject matter of the present work resonates with the artists intent to champion his heritage. Indeed, the presence of the iconographical figures imposes a further notion of political narrative given by the artist given that the 1960's posed a period of Ethiopia's struggle for independence. Indeed, the present work presents us with what Tekle would have considered his ideal in terms of national identity.
Afä Wärk Täkle, Richard Pankhurst, Afewerk Tekle (Ethiopia Asmara: Consolato generale d'Italia all'Asmara, 1973).
Richard Pankhurst, Rita Pankhurst, 'In memoriam Afä Wärk Täkle (1932-2012)' Aethiopica 15 (International Journal of Ethiopian and Eritrean Studies, 2012), pp. 247-253.